Bonjour! (French is hard, and I suck at it)

For today’s post, I have happy tales, sad announcements, personal reflection, and a new city. I stayed in Paris a few days more after my last post. There’s so much city, I’m sure I just scratched the surface. I went back to CrossFit Original Addicts II. Did some heavy squats, helped with some Olympic lifting coaching, and completed a fun workout of 10-1 T2B, HSPU, and heavy KB Swings. I really enjoyed that box. It was full of people from all over (even another American girl), and the energy was very positive. They were outfitted in all Eleiko bars and plates, but only had one rickety squat rack. I’ll be back.

Btw, kilo bumper plates are massive. Those are 20kg.

This is their business card. I just had to share! I got a good reminder of this yesterday. I walked to the local grocery store to get fixings for dinner for my hosts. Of course, I forgot I was walking because I bought entirely too much stuff. So my trip home turned into a workout: 1000m farmer carry. ?

The main event for the rest of that day was a trip to Champs Elysees, the high end shopping district behind The Arc de Triomphe. Holy crap, the sea of people was incredible. I waiting 20 min just to go into Louis Vuitton where I’m certain my mouth was never fully closed. ($1,400 for a dress!!!) 

The people watching there was the truly entertaining part. The fashion, the cultures, the lack of people who lift… and the smoking! Everywhere, people are smoking or carrying baguettes. 

The next day was a whole different adventure: My first hostel, the bohemian district, and La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Monmartre.

I arrived at the basilica during Sunday mass. After taking in the beauty of the architure from the outside and the view of Paris from the top of the hill (and after catching my breath from walking up what seemed like a billion stairs), I ventured inside. I spent the first few moments angry at the mob of tourists taking photos when signs clearly state no photos, but then the choir started. I was lost. The anger was gone and I was taken to the past. My own past spent in choirs and that of the church. The energy of the place was almost overwhelming. I was awash in pure love. The pleading and worship in the music was cathartic even though my voice was not included. I just stood silent in my own world with tears rolling down my face, oblivious to anything else. When the nuns finished, it took me a moment to snap back, and I resumed my tour. There was candles lit to various saints, beautiful works of stained glass depicting relevant scenes, and grand ceilings with intricate paintings, marble works, and mosaics. I walked slowly as in a dream until I walked outside again. 

Then, I found my way through the bustling streets of the bohemian district to my Hostel. After checking in, I met two new friends and spent the evening exploring and laughing with them. 

In the hostel over dinner, we met a man who is about to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest time traveling without returning home. He hasn’t been to his apartment in Montreal for nearly ten years! He went to Costa Rica on a whim for a two week stay with his girlfriend, and never came back. His stories were incredible! His nonchalance about his life struck me. He was without pride or boastfulness. A truly kind man who just enjoys people and the world. 

My friends and I decided after dinner to go to the Moulin Rouge. Sadly, none of us had a spare 100 euros to see the show, but we had fun just seeing it from the outside. Kansas (a nickname I mistakenly gave him after forgetting his name and where he was from) had never seen the movie, so Anouk and I decided that night was as good as any. The street that the Moulin Rouge is on is full of sex shops and strip clubs. We got crepes and wandered and joked and even found Eiffel Tower dildos on display! On our way back to the hostel we got more rose and revisited the Basilica. It was incredible at night! 

The steps of Sacre Coeur were alive at night with locals and tourists enjoying the view of Paris at night. After a while and with the need to pee, we went back to the hostel, hunkered into bed and watched Moulin Rouge. We sang, drank, laughed, met our other lovely roommates, and stayed up entirely too late. 

The next morning, I dragged my booty out of bed, said goodbye to Paris and my friends, and went off to meet my ride to Nancy. In Europe there’s this excellent company called BlaBlaCar that connects people for car pooling. For example: if I was driving from Boulder to Denver, I could offer the ride on BlaBlaCar and people could request to join. They pay like $8, meet me somewhere in Boulder, and join me for the trip. It’s like safe hitch hiking! I rode 3.5 hours to Nancy, France with 3 other people for just $16. The train would have cost 60! 

In Nancy, I have been couch surfing with a lovely couple. They are young, into metal, and all around cool cats. Nancy is a wonderful city. It is very similar to Boulder, actually. A smallish college town with wonderful culture. There’s beautiful buildings, a ton of restaurants and cafes, a cute downtown, and entirely too many opportunities to eat pastries. Unfortunately, there’s no CrossFit, but I did drop into a regular gym which was interesting as always. Besides two other guys, I was the biggest one there. You’d think I had an extra limb the way some of them were looking at me while I lifted (legs and shoulders). I was entertained. For my post workout, I had an incredibly delicious strawberry tart with the smallest to go coffee I’ve ever seen,and enjoyed them at the base of the cathedral in old town. 

Last night, we went to the city center to watch the historical light show that happens every night telling the story of Nancy. It was super neat! This town is very proud of its history and has clearly put effort into preserving it. 

I’m convinced there’s a princess in there somewhere. ^^

Tonight I’m having dinner with my hosts at a traditional French restaurant, and tomorrow I depart to Strasbourg, France on the border of Germany. It’s safe to say that I’m in love with this city,and hope to return. 

Now for some sad news: while I was in Paris, Andy called. Our cat, Hades, had been struck and killed by a car. Our neighbors brought him to Andy in a box after finding him while walking their dog. We had only had him a few tumultuous months. I’m extremely heartbroken that I couldn’t be there. It’s been a terribly tragic year for us for pets as we also lost Buddy and Piggy to sudden, untreatable health problems. ??? 

Andy wrote a beautiful eulogy for Hades that can be read on my Facebook wall. ❤️

Thank your for reading. New post after my first few days in Strasbourg. ?

I’ve been in Oregon for 8 days now, and it has been relaxing, exciting, new, and familiar. Driving in Portland is terrible, but walking around the funky neighborhoods is not. I really enjoy the quirks of this city. The many coffee and ice cream shops, breweries and thrift shops. The unabashed acceptance of our generation. I saw a sticker that said “we’re all just pretending to be adults.” Some of us pretend better than others. 

This last weekend we went to the coast for a four day adventure.

This was the first evening. We found a camping spot and made our way right to the beach with a couple beers. It was warm and breezy with that beautiful mist on the hills. Bailey Dog had her first of several amazing beach days chasing anything we would throw until she was so exhausted getting in the car was a chore. 

The next day was much the same. Sun, cooooooold Pacific waters, fetch, and a beach workout so I didn’t feel badly about eating coconut cream pie for breakfast. The rest of our group was arriving that evening, so Morgan and I just relaxed together for the day. 

Bailey doesn’t like balls that remain ball-shaped. So I was throwing this for much of the day. Or finding it for her when she would “accidentally” drop it in the water. ?

This is a jellyfish that washed up on the beach. It was drying on the edges and so strangely beautiful. I poked it with a stick, or course. Like a goddamn adult. 

The next day, we all got our fishing licenses and went crabbing! It was cold and foggy all day, but so fun trying something new. We ended up with 14 crabs! After finding a more secluded forest campsite, we had ourselves a feast: crab, corn on the cob, fresh bread, and loads of butter. I’m sure we smelled terrible all seafood, sweat, and smoke. We were so happy though. 

The final day, we tried our hand at ocean fishing. It was so windy! We didn’t catch a thing, but it was beautiful scenery and a nice last day on the sea. I dint think fishing is my calling, but I’m not bad a splitting firewood. ??

Now I’m back in Portland. Tonight I’m attending a weightlifting class at CrossFit Primal Energy and having dinner at my good friends Barrett and Ashley’s house. 

I miss you all! ?